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Experiential Education Award winners

Marietta College has announced the nine recipients of five endowed experiential education summer awards totaling more than $25,000. These awards support Marietta College students pursuing professional development opportunities over the summer, such as internships, research projects, study abroad programs, and conference presentations.

The awards are made possible through the generous donations of Marietta College’s alumni and friends. They enable students to engage in meaningful learning experiences off campus during the summer months, expanding their knowledge and skills beyond the classroom.

Carson Halbower ’25 (Guilford, Connecticut), who will be interning with EOG Resources in San Antonio, Texas, received the Robert E. Evans Internship Award. Halbower will receive $5,000 that can be used for relocation, travel, housing, meals, related equipment purchases, and other living expenses. Eligible applicants can be in any undergraduate major with a minimum GPA of 3.0.

Denise and Mike Salvino ’87 established the Evans Internship in the spring of 2010 through a gift to honor Evans and recognize his substantial contributions to Marietta College and the McDonough Leadership Program. The program awards $5,000 to one qualified rising junior or senior who participates in an approved internship in a for-profit organization, specifically a major national or global organization.

This is Halbower’s second internship after working with renewable energy on a solar field with Wanzek Construction last summer. Halbower is majoring in Petroleum Engineering.

“Our department is good at encouraging students to apply for everything, so I am pleased to receive this award,” said Halbower, who is the President of Marietta’s chapter of Society of Petroleum Engineers. “I am very happy with everything Marietta College has offered me, including a great degree in Petroleum Engineering and an opportunity to expand my network.”

Kayleen Placencia ’25 (Las Vegas, Nevada), a Computer Science major, will conduct an internship with Discover in Chicago. She is the recipient of the Danielle L. Cisler ’05 Internship Award, and she will get $2,011.

The Danielle L. Cisler ’05 Internship Award, established in 2021 by alumna and current Trustee Danielle Cisler ’05, aims to support first-generation and financially challenged students in pursuing internship opportunities in business or STEM-related fields, with funds available for expenses such as relocation travel, housing, meals, and equipment, facilitating meaningful experiential learning experiences to prepare students for career success upon graduation.

“I was shocked and excited because I didn’t believe I would win. Now I feel even more appreciated,” Placencia said. “These funds will help me buy the supplies I need to succeed this summer. I will use the money to buy formal clothes and food while living in Chicago.”

Placencia found the internship through LinkedIn. After attending a summit at the Discover office, she advanced to the interview stage and is excited to work with the data and analytics team.

“As a Computer Science student, there are many different fields I could pursue. Data analysis has been the field that calls me the most. I was excited to see that I got accepted onto this team so I could see if this is something I want to pursue,” she said. “I am grateful for this award. As this is my first internship, I am already walking in with confidence as I know people are supporting me.”

Isabelle Poling ’25 (Lancaster, Ohio) and Liam Sherman ’25 (Chicago, Illinois) will each receive $5,000 as the recipients of the Nancy Dare Luce ’76 Experiential Learning Award.

The Nancy Dare Luce ’76 Experiential Education Endowment, established anonymously in 2022 to honor Nancy Dare Luce ’76, a passionate advocate for career exploration and experiential learning, supports students with financial need pursuing approved experiential learning opportunities, primarily internships, providing funding for expenses such as travel, housing, meals, and equipment, with recipients selected annually by Marietta College officials.

Poling, majoring in Journalism/Broadcasting, is the Social Media & Marketing intern with the Tri-City Chili Peppers, a college summer baseball team in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

“One of the things that I’m looking forward to this summer is getting to experience what it is like to work in a sports setting professionally,” Poling said. “I’m also excited to meet the other interns and make new friends.”

Poling is thankful to receive the award.

“This is very meaningful because it takes a lot of financial stress off my shoulders,” she said. “I’ve been careful with my money to save up for this summer, along with working two work-study jobs without going over the earning limit. I’ve dreamed of working in a setting like this since I was a freshman in high school.”

Sherman, an Art Criticism major (student-designed), is interning with the Museo De’ Medici in Florence, Italy.

“This is a museum focused on the history and art collections of the influential Renaissance Medici family, something I am greatly invested in,” Sherman said. “This award is tremendous to me as it allows me to pursue the work without worrying about the major flight and housing costs. I am looking forward to living in one of my favorite historical cities and being able to work immersed in the art history of the Florentine Renaissance.”

Yutaro Ito ’25 (Takatsuki-shi, Japan), Katie Lively ’25 (New Matamoras, Ohio), and Alexis Sommers ’25 (Nelsonville, Ohio) will share the Howsmon-Keyes Experiential Education Award and the $6,852 in prize money.

The Howsmon-Keyes Experiential Education Award, established by Dale Keyes, Ph.D. ’67 in 2021, aims to reduce financial barriers for students engaged in internships, honoring Dr. Keyes’ mentor, Dr. W.B. Howsmon, and supporting the holistic education he advocated, with funds intended for various experiential learning opportunities, including housing, transportation, stipends, conference fees, and other associated costs, administered by Marietta College’s Career Center or appropriate authority.

Ito, majoring in Political Science, will intern in Tokyo, Japan, with a member of the House of Representatives, Yasushi Hosaka. Hosaka has been on the Japanese National Diet — the national legislation — for seven years and currently serves as the State Minister for Foreign Affairs.

“I will have an opportunity to take care of administrative work, attend conferences and take notes, communicate with local constituents, and assist in policy formation,” Ito said. “As I pursue my future career in the international political field, being able to work under Mr. Hosaka in Tokyo will be an amazing real-world experience.”

After receiving the internship offer, Ito was concerned about the financial barriers.

“Receiving the Howsmon-Keyes Experiential Education Award means a lot to me because it reduces the financial challenges and allows me to take this opportunity. I am so grateful for the generous donation that makes my internship opportunity possible,” he added.

Lively, a History major, will study at Maynooth University in Ireland in July.

“I’ve always wanted to travel, but the opportunity never presented itself until now,” Lively said. “Thanks to the encouraging advice of some very special people, I decided to try to study abroad, but I never truly allowed myself to believe it could happen for fear of disappointment. Fortunately, thanks to the contributions of generous donors, I’m finally going to be able to experience Ireland in more than just storybooks, and that reality is simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying! I can't wait to see what the summer will bring.”

Sommers, an Entrepreneurship major, will study in Athens, Greece, where her grandmother’s side of the family originates.

“The program I am studying is Business and Liberal Arts + Honors Courses Summer 2024,” she said. I am extremely grateful for the experiential education award; it helped me connect with my heritage and further my business understanding.”

Aditya Shah ’25 (Birgunj, Nepal) and Lily Sorensen ’26 (Morgantown, West Virginia) received the Thrash-Henderson Mathematics Experiential Education Award. They are splitting the $1,500 prize money.

The Thrash-Henderson Mathematics Experiential Education Award, established by Wendy Thrash ’67 and Donna Henderson in 2020, supports students majoring in Mathematics or Computer Science with experiential education opportunities, including funding for student travel, research, conference fees, housing expenses, and stipends. This award honors the achievements of Wendy Thrash ‘67, a mathematics graduate of Marietta College with advanced degrees in mathematics, statistics, educational psychology, and computer science, who made significant contributions to various companies in the field, and Donna Henderson, a retired registered nurse and hospital administrator with a background in healthcare administration and consulting.

Shah, majoring in Physics and Computer Science, will use the funds to help with his costs related to the ZaPP Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the University of Michigan, where he will delve into advanced research in physics.

“For my application at the University of Michigan, I presented a proposal centered on exploring novel computational techniques to analyze laser and plasma interactions,” Shah said. “This project aims to enhance our understanding of lasers through more precise and efficient data processing methods.”

Shah added, “I am deeply grateful for this opportunity and excited about its possibilities for furthering our understanding of the universe. I look forward to immersing myself in this research and am hopeful for the discoveries and advancements that lie ahead.”

Sorensen, majoring in Actuarial Science, will present research she has been working on for the past two semesters about mental toughness and how it relates to Backyard Ultra Marathon participants at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research.

“This is a great opportunity for me to share my research and to talk to other undergraduate researchers,” she said.

Sorensen also participated in the College’s Investigative Studies Program last summer, doing research on this topic.